Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a crucial gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.
Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.
Well, sort of.
Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and talk to ghosts. This mysterious ability had always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she could undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because Dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.
It doesn't really help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.
As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart. . . and clues to the secret of the Shift.
Title: Shade (Shade #1)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Genre: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
My rating: 5/5
Aura, like every other person born after the Shift, can see and hear ghosts. Aura would give anything not to be able to hear, or see them, until her boyfriend ends up dying. Though he is now dead, he still wants to pursue their relationship, barring a few minor complications. Aura would love nothing more than to be with him, but she has to move on. When Zachary enters the picture, things simultaneously become easier and harder for her. She'll have to decide who, or what to choose. If only she could figure out the secret behind the Shift.
The premise for Shade is quite unique and intriguing. Every child and teenager Aura's age and younger can see and hear ghosts, while the adults can't. The ghosts know this and constantly badger everyone they guess can see them. In many other books, just one character is usually afflicted with a questionable ability. In Shade, everyone has the same ability, and though they can't do anything to bar themselves from seeing the ghosts, they can bar the ghosts from communicating with them by wearing red. The involvement of red in their wardrobe distorts things for the ghosts so much that they can't handle being near the colour. This puts Aura in an interesting position as she needs to come to terms with Logan's death, and the reality of his new ghostly being. As a devout fan of the colour red, she trades in her red clothes and accessories in favour of being with Logan. When she is assigned a partner to help with her science project, she can't help but be dismayed as she expressed that she would rather do her project solo. Things heat up when she finds out her new partner is an incredibly good-looking, accent-toting Scotsman. She doesn't want to fall for him, but the chemistry between the two sizzles and roars to life.
Aura is a well developed, and well scripted character. Her situation evokes sympathy from the reader as they realize how hard it must be for her to live with her boyfriend's death, and then see her living in stasis as he isn't moving on. When Zachary is partnered with her, it is interesting to see the fluctuation of emotions that Aura starts feeling. She starts having feelings that she thought would be dormant forever after losing Logan. I found her completely credible and couldn't help rooting for her to choose Zachary over Logan, though I am still torn between the two.
The love triangle between all three characters is poetic at best as Logan is the one she wants but can't have. Zachary is on the sidelines displaying his affection openly. He realizes that she is pining for Logan, but wants her to realize that she needs to have a relationship with someone living. Relationship woes aside, there is the very real mystery of the Shift that Aura wants to solve. With both Zachary, and Logan's help, she just might be able to, but she'll need to work in secret as there are government agencies keeping a close eye on those born after the Shift.
I loved the plot line, the romance, the pacing, all of it. The story was suspenseful, heartfelt, moving, and illuminating. Those who enjoy urban fantasy, romance, and mystery will love this book. The sequel, Shift, doesn't come out until May 2011, so it will be a long wait to find out what happens next. I, for one, will be waiting impatiently to find out what direction Smith-Ready is planning to take the series in. This is definitely a must-read.